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Heucks Retreat Newsletter 6/2/20

From Daniel’s Den…

Meeting Folks Where They Are”

Have you ever heard or used the phrase “meeting folks where they are?” While the expression may mean different things to different people, I think the gist of the statement focuses on the recognition that people come from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, cultures, parts of the country (or world), and traditions, etc. Because people are different, approaching everyone with a “one size fits all” mentality may not be appropriate or suitable.

I recall an occasion in the summer of 2012 when my oldest son was about to move to Eugene, OR to attend graduate school at the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!). Dan and I visited Eugene in order to find him a place to live and to begin securing furnishings, etc. We visited an apartment that a UO faculty member typically rented to graduate students. The current tenants were two young men from Germany who were completing their master’s thesis with the prospects of graduating in August before moving back home to begin jobs in their country.

In an attempt to strike up a conversation, I asked these two students “How much do y’all lack?” When their only response was questioning eyes, I repeated my question “How much do y’all lack?” My son quickly intervened and said, “Dad, you can’t talk like that to them.” Thinking that he was referring to the pace of my speech and my use of “y’all,” I enunciated every word while using my best diction as I slowly asked, “How much do you lack?” The real problem was the fact that these two German students did not understand my use of “lack.” Once I learned that little tidbit, I asked “How long until you finish your paper?” In other words, I tried to meet these young men where they were in the area of understanding the English language (or at least my version of English).

Jesus made a habit of meeting people were they were. The Samaritan woman that he met at the well (John 4), the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), and Zacchaeus (Luke 19) are examples of Jesus’ approach to meeting people. In short, Jesus had a Posture of meeting people where they were. The woman at the well had numerous husbands in the past and she was not married to man with whom she was “associated” currently. Jesus talked to her about living water. The image presented regarding the adulterous woman is that the religious leaders caught her in the very act of adultery and dragged her to the temple courts to judge her and pronounce a sentence of death by stoning. At that extremely trying moment in her life, this woman encountered Jesus. Zacchaeus was a tax collector who used his office and position to steal from others. He was perched in a tree when he encountered Jesus and received the invitation to be Jesus’ host for the day.

As he met people where they were, Jesus made the building of relationships a Priority. Jesus established a relationship by talking to and spending time with those he encountered. Jesus exercised Patience as he developed the relationship. He did not criticize the Samaritan woman for her marital challenges or her current situation. He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery nor did he castigate Zacchaeus for his financial misconduct. Rather, Jesus had the Purpose of moving people from where they were (where He had met them with all faults, flaws, and foibles) to a direction that would be more positive for them and others. Reading the encounter that each of these three had with Jesus ushers forth the understanding that Progress was made in each of their lives. Everyone was touched in a significant way by their encounter with Jesus. The woman at the well went back to her village and told others what she had experienced. As a result, many Samaritans believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony. The woman caught in adultery was not condemned by Jesus. Rather, he told her to “leave your life of sin.” Zacchaeus was so touched by his experience with Jesus that he pledged to make restitution for overcharging people in their tax payments. Jesus exclaimed “Today, salvation has come to this house…!”

While meeting people where they are (particularly when where they are is nowhere close to where  you may be) can be quite difficult, the potential for blessings for everyone involved is worth the effort. By approaching people with the proper Posture, making the establishment of a beneficial relationship the Priority, while exercising Patience  with Purpose in the pursuit of moving someone in a positive direction, then Progress will likely result. When the purpose for the encounter is introducing someone to Jesus, then the progress that may be forthcoming will certainly be positive, life-changing, and eternal. With joy in my heart, I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday as we meet where we are while looking forward to meeting together when we can safely all for the glory of God!

Daniel
 
 
Notes from Brett
 

Returning to Church

This past week, we announced our intention to return to church in the coming weeks.  While we can’t give a definite date just yet, know that when we’re ready to announce it, we’ll make sure you know.  In the mean time, check out the proposed guidelines so that you know what we’re doing to make sure we have a safe and healthy return, and also what you can do.  You can find those here!

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School is currently scheduled for July 20-24th.  We hope this allows your child to have a great time learning about the Lord in a safe, healthy environment.  If you can help or volunteer in any way, please contact Allison Wallace and she’ll give you all the information you’ll need.

Praise Team

Drew will be starting a praise team to help him lead worship.  These people will hold mics on stage and help lead us all in worship.  This won’t be taking the place of our choir when they can meet safely again, but will be in addition to them.  Current plan is to cycle between different people each week to give many the opportunity to lead.  If you’re interested in being part of this team, please contact Drew. 



Ready to Get Back to Church?

Are you ready to Get Back to Church?

We are excited to tell you that our church leaders are formulating plans to start meeting together again for worship. Our church leaders have sought guidance from Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, our local Lincoln Baptist Association, and our local medical community leaders in developing these guidelines. Hopefully, we can begin in the next 3 – 4 weeks, if not sooner. However, an exact date is not set at this point, as we must get our facilities cleaned and sanitized. Cleaning and sanitizing supplies must be obtained and ready for use. Other churches may start sooner, and that’s OK. Our church leaders want to make sure they have things in order and safe, so when we restart our worship service, we can do so with peace-of-mind.

What will In-Person Church Look Like

It should be clear to everyone that when we restart our in-person church worship service, things are going to be different. We can’t immediately go back to the way we were doing things prior to COVID-19. What will church worship look like? With COVID-19 still active and prevalent in our community, our initial plan will be to limit our Sanctuary attendance to 50% of our seating capacity or to a number that allows those attending to maintain 6 feet of separation from those not in your household. If necessary, we will provide overflow seating in our Ministry Center where the service and sermon will be streamed. This will give us plenty of space to properly social distance, and we will not have to turn anyone away. We plan to continue broadcasting our service via Facebook Live for those who are going to delay their return or cannot be present for other reasons. No nursery services will be provided initially, but will be considered when conditions improve and church leadership feels it can provide a safe and healthy environment.

We will delay restarting Sunday school, children’s church, adult choir, and activities on Sunday and Wednesday evening. We will consider restarting these services and activities when conditions improve and church leadership feels it can provide a safe and healthy environment.

We would like to share with you some of the steps and measures we are taking and will have in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as some of the things you can do for your safety and the safety of our church staff and fellow church members.

Steps Church Leadership Will Take

-Prior to resuming live services, church leadership will have all church facilities cleaned and sanitized. The focus initially will be on the church office, the Sanctuary, and the Ministry Center.

-Worship areas and restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized prior to each service.

-Entrance doors will be propped open before and after the services so you don’t have to touch push bars, door handles and knobs as you enter and exit.

-Ushers/Security team members, the Pastor, church staff, and other church volunteers involved in the service will be screened and temperature checked prior to each service.

-Ushers/Security team members will wear masks and clear disposable gloves while handling assigned duties.

-Ushers/Security team members will be conducting a temperature check as you enter with a non-touch infrared thermometer. If you are symptomatic, have a fever, have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, or have traveled to a domestic COVID-19 hotspot in the past two weeks, please watch the service from home.

-Hand sanitizer stations will be at or near each entry/exit point for use as you enter and leave.

-Every other row of pews will be blocked off to establish a 6 foot separation to the front and rear (these will be marked).

-Offering plates will be set outside the sanctuary to drop off your offering to limit any potential physical contact. You can still mail your tithe, give online, or drop it off at the church office during the week.

-At the end of the each service you will be directed to exit by seating section (If needed we will use the front and side entrances to expedite this process and limit exposure.)

Steps We Ask You to Take

For everyone’s health and safety (this includes our Pastor and church staff), please consider wearing a mask while entering and exiting the building and during the service. A limited number of masks will be available if you happen to leave yours at home.

As previously mentioned, our Usher/Security team members will be checking each individual’s temperature as they are entering the church facilities. If you are symptomatic, have a fever, have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, or have traveled to a domestic COVID-19 hotspot in the past two weeks and if you are able, please participate in the service from home.

Maintain 6 feet of separation from those not in your household. This means that we are asking that you keep at least a two-seat (person) distance between you and the person next to you on your pew (unless you are in the same household or traveling to and from church together).

Avoid physical contact with those not in your household. This means no hugging or shaking hands (this will be really hard for a lot of folks).

If you stop to visit outside the church, please maintain 6 feet of separation from those not in your household.

If you are in a vulnerable high risk group/category, we are encouraging you to delay your return for a few weeks. If we can assist you in watching online, please let us know.

If you have any potential symptoms of COVID-19, for the safety of others, please stay home. (Check the CDC’s list of potential symptoms, if you are unsure.)

Again, for everyone’s well-being, we are encouraging you to wear a mask while on the church property.

In Conclusion

We know this all seems strange and maybe a little overboard, but hopefully we will be so excited to be back together as a church family that these measures will seem like very small sacrifices. Plus, we can be assured in God’s grace that these conditions won’t last forever as we navigate through this pandemic. You have all been so patient, positive, and encouraging through this ordeal. Let’s keep seeking opportunities to serve and to glorify God with every action and breath we take.



Heucks Retreat Newsletter 04/29/20

From Daniel’s Den…

Here Comes the Bride

As you may be aware, I have three adult children, two sons and a daughter. You may not be aware, however, that all three are engaged to be married. I will have the honor and privilege of officiating each wedding.

My daughter (the youngest) will be the first to say “I do.” In addition to the honor of officiating, I will also have the honor and privilege of accompanying Alyssa down the aisle where the bridegroom Caleb will be smiling and waiting patiently in eager anticipation of being wed to my beautiful, amazing, talented, beautiful, witty, intelligent, beautiful, lovely, charming, beautiful (you get the picture) daughter. I am confident that Alyssa will be smiling also and I hope that she doesn’t set too fast a pace for her dear ole dad.

I’m not sure what music will be playing as Alyssa enters and proceeds to meet her groom. Some brides opt for a classic tune while others select a non-traditional, contemporary song. One of the classics is “Bridal Chorus” (a.k.a. “Here Comes the Bride”) written for the opera Lohengrin by Richard Wagner. When written in 1850, the focus of this oft-played musical score was the personal and intimate relationship shared between bride and groom.

The imagery of the bride is employed in the Bible to depict the people of God and the personal and intimate relationship that He desires to experience with His people. The Old Testament prophets present Israel as the bride (Isaiah 61:5, 62:5; Jeremiah 3 & 33:10-11; Ezekiel 16; Hosea 3) while New Testament writers identify the church as Christ’s bride (John 3:29; Revelation 19:7-8; Revelation 21 & 22:17; 2 Corinthians 11:2).

Each biblical writer uses the bride imagery to highlight God’s deep and abiding love for His people. During Alyssa and Caleb’s wedding ceremony, I intend to charge Caleb to love Alyssa “even as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). 

The Lord truly loves His bride, the church. After all, He died for folks like you and me who make up the local expression of His church known as Heucks Retreat Baptist Church. He will not “leave or forsake” His people. Whether the day is bright and sunny or cloudy and stormy, God “is our refuge and strength.” Whether the evening newscast offers a positive outlook or a negative report, God is “an ever-present help.” Regardless of the myriad of challenges confronting all of us courtesy of COVID-19, God is our “light and (our) salvation, whom shall (we) fear?” When Paul offered the rhetorical question “Who/What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” to the church at Rome, the obvious answer was (and still is) an emphatic “No one!” or “Nothing!” 

While I’m not 100% certain that I am 100% ready to have my daughter leave Joyce and me to be united with her groom, I do believe that Alyssa and Caleb love each other and the Lord and that they are prepared and ready to begin life together. My prayer for them is that they will grow daily in their love relationship with each other and with the Lord. After all, a wedding is simply the beginning of a lifetime of love.

My prayer is that each member of Christ’s bride known as Heucks Retreat Baptist Church will strive daily to grow in their love relationship with Him and that service to others will offer a tangible expression of this relationship. And, as I often tell my children, may the church Start Faithful, Stand Firm, Stay Focused, Steer Forward, and Step Forth (as a bride stepping forth to be united with her groom. Here comes the bride! 

Daniel
 

Notes From Brett

I hope everyone enjoyed the Lord’s Supper this week with your family.  I’ve heard how many of you took advantage of the opportunity and used some…unconventional bread and juice to partake.  Haha!  I’m glad you were able to be a part of such a special time, even if we are separated.  I also want to take this moment to thank Renee Cotton, Jackie Owens, Barbara Moak, and Lisa Jackson for all of their work with the setup of our Lord’s Supper on site and providing the homemade bread.  It was fantastic!
 

A few notes this week for you:

1.  Mother’s Day is coming soon!  While we won’t be together for this, we are still wanting to honor all the moms out there.  We’re working to make the service special, so I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as we are.  And for all the men, this is your notice.  You’ve got a week.  Get that gift!

2.  This coming Sunday was originally planned to be our Senior Recognition service.  While we’ll still honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our Seniors when we return, I do want to give a big shout out to Olivia Lewis and Turner Owens.  They have been so fantastic to have and I’m not sure they know how much I’m going to miss them being in the youth.  My first group to go all the way through high school with me.  Feels like yesterday when I got here.  Where’d the time go!?  But y’all give them a call or text and let them know how much they mean to you.  I know they’d appreciate it.

3.  The U. S. Small Business Administration is providing eligibility for loans to churches as part of the massive financial stimulus bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.  Expenses like payroll, utilities, health insurance payments,  mortgage payments, interest on other loans, etc.  are eligible covering the period of February 15 through June 30, 2020.  A key feature of these loans is forgiveness of all or a portion of the expenses covered for an eight-week period following the origination of the loan. Tax exempt entities , including churches, have been specifically recognized as eligible to apply for these loans that are guaranteed by the Federal government.

Generally the membership votes on approval for a loan but because of the “shelter in place” directive we are under, no meetings of the congregation are taking place.  Therefore upon recommendation of the Stewardship Committee, the Deacons have unanimously approved our applying for the SBA loan.  More information will follow as we progress through this process.

4.  We are currently collecting email addresses to mail out this newsletter and any other communication we might need.  If you haven’t yet sent us your email address, please text 601-757-4140 with your email address.  If you’d prefer to receive a physical copy, or if you have family members that would need a physical copy, please let us know so we can be sure that everyone in our church family is connected and receives communication.

If there are any prayer concerns that we are unaware of, please call the church office and let us know.  Thank  you for being such a great church.  Continue to love each other and we’ll get through this pandemic together.

Brett



Heucks Retreat Newsletter 4/22/20

From Daniel’s Den…

“The Lord’s Supper: Commemoration, Communion, Consecration”

Jesus instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper prior to His death. As He distributed the bread and drink to the disciples, Jesus spoke of the elements as symbols of his body and blood that would be shed for them for the remission of sin. He instructed his followers that the meal would serve as a memorial to him. Thus, observing the Lord’s Supper is a special and meaningful time of remembrance and reflection for Christians.

Speaking about the significance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, Dr. Paul Powell, a long-tenured pastor and former president of the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (now Guidestone Financial Resources) once said,

“Never was there a person who cared less about ritual than Jesus. The only two ceremonies He inaugurated and taught us to perpetuate were baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Both center in the Gospel and in our redemption. The Lord’s Supper symbolizes to me what happened to Jesus when he went to the cross. When Jesus went to the cross His body was broken and His blood was shed. When we went to the cross, the old person, dead in sin, was resurrected to a newness of life. So, the Lord’s Supper is a way I declare what I believe about Jesus Christ, and baptism is a way that I declare what I have experienced in Christ.”

Bill Kent, a Mississippi pastor pointed to the meaning of the Lord’s Supper by saying, “First, the Lord’s Supper reminds me that my sins are forgiven because Jesus died as my substitute. Second, it is a time of reflection on the past, present and future work of Christ as Redeemer, Intercessor and coming King…Third, I must reflect gratefully on the application of Christ’s blood to me personally to wash away all sin and I must search my heart thoroughly concerning unconfessed sin and harbored bitterness toward anyone.”

Herschel Hobbs, long-time pastor of the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City, OK and noted Southern Baptist theologian stated, “The Lord’s Supper is to me a time of self-examination and rededication to my Lord.”

This Sunday, Heucks Retreat Baptist Church will be observing the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. I would encourage you to make both spiritual and practical preparation to receive the Lord’s Supper. First, read Psalm 19:12-14 and Psalm 66:18-20. Examine your heart and ask the Lord to forgive you of any known or unknown sin. Second, collect the necessary elements prior to Sunday. The entire worship experience – songs, scripture, and message – will focus on the Lord’s Supper on Sunday. Although the presentation of and participation in the Lord’s Supper may be a little different than the norm, am looking forward to Sunday morning and I an excited about worshiping with you! I am also thrilled to be serving with you at HRBC!

Daniel
 
Notes from Brett
 

I hope everyone’s had a great week.  Here at Heucks, we’ve been preparing for the Lord’s Supper.  Shoutout to Renee Cotton, Lisa Jackson, Barbara Moak, and Jackie Owens for the great setup in our sanctuary.  I can’t wait for all of you to see it this Sunday.  Reminder, for those of you who don’t have Facebook, you can go to hrbaptist.net and click on ‘Watch Us Live’ and see the entire service starting at 10:30 am every Sunday.  We can’t wait to have you join us.

Before I get into my notes, I did want to take a moment and do a short walkthrough of Online Giving.  Many have asked questions on how it works and what they need to do, so I hope this is helpful.
 
 
 
First, you’ll want to go to our website, hrbaptist.net.  Once you’ve arrived, the site will look something like the above.  At the top right, you’ll see ‘Online Giving’.  Click that button and it should redirect you to a different webpage.  If it doesn’t, it’s probably an issue with the link.  Let me know, and I should be able to fix it.  I’m not sure why, but it sometimes resets the link.
 
 
Next, you’ll arrive on a page that looks like the above.  From here, you’ll type in what you want to give.  You can then check the box for ‘Recurring Giving’ if you want this to be an automatic transaction each week, month, etc.  You can even choose the day of the week that it withdraws.  You’ll then type in your name and email for our records.
 

You’ll then scroll down and come to this section.  From here, you can choose to give through a card or a bank withdrawal.  Credit and Debit cards have a 2.8% transaction fee associated with them, while a bank withdrawal has a 1% transaction fee.  Once you type in all of the information, you can click Give and you should be all set.

Before I move on, I do want to remind you that you are still welcome to give through check or cash to the church directly.  This does help us avoid transaction fees, so do take that into account.  You can mail any checks you may have to the church office.

Heucks Retreat Baptist Church

2167 Heucks Retreat Road NE

Brookhaven, MS 39601

If you have any other questions about giving or are encountering issues, don’t hesitate to call.  I’d love to help resolve them.

A couple notes this week for you:

1.  The Lord’s Supper is coming up this week!  On April 26th, we will have the Lord’s Supper as part of our morning worship service.  We are encouraging families to purchase bread and juice for their family so that you can partake at your home.  While this is definitely different than how we’d normally do the Lord’s Supper, we believe it will be a very special moment for families together, somewhat similar to how Candelight Christmas Eve is.  So begin preparing now so that you are ready when the day comes.  And the best part is you get to choose the bread!  Do I hear someone saying cinnamon bread?

2.  We are currently collecting email addresses to mail out this newsletter and any other communication we might need.  If you haven’t yet sent us your email address, please text 601-757-4140 with your email address.  If you’d prefer to receive a physical copy, or if you have family members that would need a physical copy, please let us know so we can be sure that everyone in our church family is connected and receives communication.

If there are any prayer concerns that we are unaware of, please call the church office and let us know.  Thank  you for being such a great church.  Continue to love each other and we’ll get through this pandemic together.

Brett

 


Online Giving at Heucks Retreat

With the Coronavirus disrupting our services for the foreseeable future, there has been a question posed to me countless times: what about giving?  As you all know, our church relies on the gifts of its people to continue to operate and minister to our people.  God calls each of us to give sacrificially to support His mission through the local body, but for many, it seems like an impossible task, not necessarily because of finances, but due to opportunity.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s message regarding the cancellation of our Drive In Easter Service (you can find that here), your staff see these obstacles as opportunities to reach people in ways we never could before.  It’s given us an opportunity to reexamine how we do things and what we can do more effectively to reach people with the Gospel message.  In regards to tithes and offerings, this has led us to explore Online Giving.

With Online Giving, you’ll be able to give your tithe/offering through a debit or credit purchase, or through a bank transaction.  This eliminates having to figure out how to get your tithe to us, as you can easily do it online from the comfort of your home.  For many, your tithe may be the only check you ever write, so this creates an opportunity to advance even this into the digital age we live in. 

Starting now, we will offer online giving through a web service called Tithely.  We chose this service because of their competitive rates and ability to have designated giving when we have certain fundraisers or offerings at the church, such as Annie Armstrong or Guatemala.  Tithely offers you two ways to give to Heucks Retreat.  First is through a debit/credit purchase.  If you choose this option, there will be a 2.9% transaction fee (plus .30 cents per transaction) charged to the church.  The second option is bank transfer, which will hold a 1% transaction fee with the same .30 cents addition per transaction.  You will have the option to cover these charges for us if you’d like, but this would not be recorded for tax purposes.  Your actual gift will be recorded and we will know the exact amount you have given.  For example, if you gave $100, we’d receive somewhere close to $97 of that, but our records would still indicate that you gave $100.  You have no need to worry about our records being wrong for your taxes.

While the transaction fee can be discouraging, from all we’ve talked to that have online giving at their church, they’ve told us it has increased tithing, not reduced it, so this fee is something we’re willing to eat for the betterment of our church.  Do not feel pressured to cover the fees, but if you do feel led, we’d appreciate it.

To all those who like writing a check and putting it in the offering plate (I am one of them!), you have nothing to worry about!  We’ll continue to have a time for offering when we’re back together and you can still drop off your tithe/offering at the church office in the mean time. 

You can currently access Online Giving through our website (you’ll find a tab at the top) or through our app (you’ll find it in the side menu).

If you have any questions, feel free to call the church office at 601-835-1821 and I’d love to answer them.  Thank you so much for all of your support and I pray that God will continue to use each and every one of you during this time.

In Christ,

Brett